||Founded in 1985, the Clark Fork Coalition is dedicated to protecting and restoring the Clark Fork River basin, a 22,000-square-mile area draining western Montana and northern Idaho. We have over a 27-year-long record of substantial achievements improving the health of the watershed.
Side by side with citizens, scientists, landowners, business leaders, and public officials, we have spearheaded initiatives that have delivered important gains, including:
- The decision to remove Milltown Dam and the contaminated mining wastes piled behind it, freeing up the confluence of the Clark Fork and Blackfoot rivers.
- The decision to remove Mike Horse Dam, a slumping mess of toxic mine tailings stacked up in the headwaters of the Blackfoot River.
- A partnership with a ranching family on Racetrack Creek – a stream that used to go dry each summer – that allowed us to buy their surplus irrigation water stored in a headwaters reservoir, and keep this important tributary flowing to the Clark Fork River year-round.
- Over 20 innovative water transactions in the Bitterroot, Blackfoot, Upper and Middle Clark Fork watersheds that re-water and reconnect streams, and benefit landowners, fish, and communities.
- A ban on the sale of pollution-causing phosphate detergent.
- Widespread and project-blocking opposition to the Rock Creek Mine proposal, which would mine underneath the Cabinet Mountains Wilderness.
- A farmer’s market that brings upper Clark Fork valley food to nearby consumers, thereby helping preserve the watershed’s working ranchlands and rural rhythms.
- An innovative split-season water lease at our working ranch in the Upper Clark Fork valley that keeps Dry Cottonwood Creek flowing freely to the river for the first time in decades, and also returns 10 cubic feet per second of water to the Clark Fork River.
- Tools for bringing about river-smart growth that values and protects the basin’s irreplaceable rivers, lakes, and streams.
Our work is science-based and results-oriented, with an emphasis on public education through energetic advocacy. This approach puts people in touch with Clark Fork River and the cause for a healthy watershed, and it has made the Coalition a trusted and respected voice for our rivers and communities.
When we envision change, we do so for the long term. We believe that the health of our rivers and the health of our communities are inextricably tied. Honoring that relationship is key to achieving long-term vitality for people and for water systems within the Clark Fork basin. We look toward the day when:
• The Clark Fork sustains a revitalized fishery and an aquatic environment that matches conditions from 200 years ago.
• The basin’s residents appreciate that the Clark Fork and its tributaries run through and sustain every part of our lives-- our natural surroundings, our livelihoods, our social fabric.
• Riverside communities regard the Clark Fork as an irreplaceable community asset and an economic driver, and make its care and protection a top priority.
• The watershed’s farms and ranches secure reliable and stable local markets and are positioned to survive the region’s intensifying development pressures.
• Policy-makers are dedicated to protecting the natural assets in the watershed.
Few groups in the West integrate environmental advocacy with community-building. We do it because it’s effective—it delivers conservation results that are economic drivers and community assets, set up to endure over the long term.
Clark Fork Coalition Address:
140 4th St. W., Unit #1
Missoula, MT 59801
PO Box 7593
Missoula, MT 59807